This is a Sandberg California string bass with a classic design to it but with some cool appointments.
It is the signature bass for Martin Méndez of the Swedish band Opeth in 5 string version.
The European ash body is finished in Matt Black and finish is Soft Aged, giving the impression of a slightly used bass. Martin is a huge fan of vintage basses so for his signature bass he chose the vibration treatment for the body which consists of applying some vibrations to the body before the bass is put together, getting some of that nice responsiveness that you only get from a bass that's been played for 40+ years. Cool.
We love the general smart look of the matt finish, matching headstock, black hardware and no inlays over the ebony fingerboard.
When you play venues as large as Opeth the last thing you want is to depend on a 9 volt battery so Martin specified that this bass would be 100% passive. Great sound is achieved using two excellent Delano JMVC pickups that sound big and bold. Controls are Volume, Balance and Tone.
Martin was able to use a prototype where he could actually move the position of the pickups so once he found his favorite position, that was it. In this case the neck pickup is located closer to the bridge than usual and that makes for a very special type of sound with excellent definition and extra bite. We love it.
We love the fact that this is a Jazz Bass inspired instrument (two Single Coils, 45mm nut) but it has some P Bass vibes thanks to the classic pickguard.
Zero fret is a standard Sandberg features and we love it as it really helps with intonation in the first positions.
Weight is absolutely perfect at just 4kg. It is not heavy at all but at the same time it prevents from neck diving, something that lightweight basses suffer from.
Of course the fact that the scale of this bass is 35" ensures a perfect performance from the low B string while feeling just like a 34". Some extra long scale basses feel cumbersome, but that's not the case here. Really comfortable and easy to play.
If you are looking for a great sounding 5 string bass with a classic but clear sound, this is your bass.
Sandberg California VTT Signature Martin Mendez 5 Soft Aged Virgin White